Tuesday, 17 February 2009


We are living history. This must be the only time in the history of India when we have a minister who is PM, FM and External Affairs Minister-all-rolled-into-one. Of course there is supervision by an extra constitutional authority against whom no one in India has the guts to talk. Are we a democracy? are we not a banana republic? are we not a dictatorship? we need to answer these questions as fast as possible if we have to find some semblance of sanity in our country.
Look at the irony of the country, we have a home minister who gives a statement on finance everyday. We have a part time finance minister presenting an interim budget. It cant get any more interim here!
The icing on the cake is the hopes built up by our gullible investors that an part-time finance minister with a mandate to present the interim budget will declare a stimulus package. How can you expect this to happen? The part time finance minister has his hands full in the external affairs ministry as he has to deal with the unprecedented diplomatic offensives from our neighbouring countries.
The election commission was expected to save face by showing readiness to conduct polls as and when the parliament is dissolved or at the end of the term. But internecine rivalry and party politics has also crept into the only non-partisan institution in the country.
The interim budget was, as expected a vote on account to help the government to spend money in the next four months from April 2009 to July 2009 so that the affairs of the state can be carried out smoothly. Expecting too much from this exercise was a wrong thing. As I had written earlier the stock markets would be meandering for a while until the elections. This is the time when the markets will probably bottom out. We can expect the indices to test the October 2008 lows in the meanwhile. The fourth quarter results, annual results and the results of the general elections will help the pessimistic sentiment further.
As far as the expectations of the results of the general elections go, I believe that we will see a completely fractured mandate and we would have a government which would bring in strange partners together and a coalition of opposite ideologies would be in power in for the next eighteen months at least. This period of "interim government" is going to continue for another 18 months now. Unless growth slows down to the "Hindu growth rate" or India heads towards a recession don't expect fireworks in the political arena nor the economic arena. Babus will continue to run the show and ensure that we slip into inactive mode.

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